Coming hot on the heels of the recent CUD farewell, tonight saw a big hello to fellow 90's popsters Dodgy. But first, hot new thang James Rea (who I'm pretty sure played with Nigel Clark's band a few months back). It's impossible not to love our James. Brimming with enthusiasm, he's a bit like a modern day Ray Davis. In other words, a writer of well observed slices of English life that perfectly reflect his age, generation and experiences. He's being produced by Nigel, so the recorded stuff has a classy pop polish, but it's live that he shows his real promise. This boy can really rock out when he wants (good grief I've gone all 70's DJ again haven't I?). Anyway, go see. Fall in love. Buy his single. Give him a hug.
After a really new talent, a slightly older one, Misty's Big Adventure. I'm going to make a bold statement here. Misty's are one of my top 3 bands. In the world. Ever (don't ask what the other two are...that's far too hard, picking Misty's as one of them is easy). I love 'em as much now as I did some 10 years or so ago when I first saw them. In the years since I must've witnessed the full on Misty's experience 20 times...maybe more. Strangely tonight they seemed better than ever. Ye gods Britain, wake up. This is one of best bands we've ever had. People should be writing dissertations on Erotic Volvo, publishing great papers on the lyrics to 'I Can't Bring the Time Back'. Melvin Bragg should make a 7 part South Bank Show on them. Martin Scorsese should ditch the Stones and make movie about a Misty's gig. You get the picture right? The first track they played...the one about life being like a conveyor belt...genius. People start religions with less insight than this. I'm gushing now aren't I? I want to release a double album of Misty's greastest hits so the rest of the globe can catch up. How about it eh? Not sure how much that would cost...who cares...some things are more important than money!?!
Right...I've calmed down now. Just in time to catch Mark Morriss. Yes. That Mark Morriss (no, not Mark 'Return My Mac' Morrison...Mr Bluetones...that Mark Morriss). Flashback time. Edwards No8, 1994 (I think), one of the first Supergrass tours...The Bluetones supported and I fell in love with Slight Return. Ignore the fools (pity da fools in fact) who sneer at the days of Brit Pop. Sure there were some chancers, but it was a great time for British music and The Bluetones were right up there. Tonight Mark played alone with his geetar and, whilst there was no Slight Return, we did get a brilliant Marblehead Johnson plus a smattering of tracks from his upcoming solo album (and a special guest appearance as a Caretaker in disguise...you had to be there). The voice, as lovely as ever, seems stronger these days...to be expected I suppose after playing for the past 15 years or so. I'm glad to report that The Bluetones are still going strong too (you can catch them back in Brum in May).
Finally, Dodgy. Flashback again. The Hibernian in Stirchley. 1993 (I think). Dodgy and The Sordid Details. A truly awesome gig. I was lucky enough to catch one of the 90's finest a load more times over the following years, then Nigel jacked it in for some solo and personal stuff. I've been to see him since and, whilst he's put on some cracking shows, every time you couldn't help thinking that the band belonged 'tegetha'. Happily all concerned saw sense last year and, slightly delayed due to Andy's broken arm, tonight saw the results. Some songs in life really mean stuff to people. 'Making The Most Of' is one of them for me. In just a few notes I was a young...oh alright then...youngish chap again...on his way to Glasto with a homemade mix tape playing on a dodgy (literally) car stereo.
Drummer Mathew Priest is a chuffing powerhorse. For my money he was always the glue that held it all together and last night that was just as true. Nigel still has that voice and Andy still looks cool. Of course you've got the songs too. Pop (never a dirty word in my world) doesn't get any better. They played (almost) all the hits (wot no Lovebirds?) and, for a band who hadn't played together for a decade or so, they were surprisingly tight. What next? Who knows. A new album would be nice. Older, wiser, but with the same knack for a tune and great harmonies, it could be a classic. Bostin!